Jon Lefebure (incumbent)
- Please tell us a bit about yourself and what made you decide to run in this election?
We are facing some tough challenges such as the issue of affordable housing and I have been working hard on them for the last 4 years. I would like to be able to see that work come to fruition through building relationships, through strategic partnerships and with our excellent staff and community orgaiizations. That is how we will build a better community, one that can be measured by how we treat the least fortunate amongst us.
- Do you support the Drinking Water & Watersheds Protections Service bylaw referendum?
YES. We need to develop watershed management plans that look at water quality and quantity in the 17 watersheds in the Region. We may have enough clean water for the majority of our domestic water systems now but some are under threat already and climate change will increase that number. Environmental flows that support fish and eco-systems are threatened by drought. This Service will attract grant money and provide funding for concerted action to deal with these issues.
- Do you support the Cowichan Housing Association Service Establishment bylaw?
YES. We are facing a housing crisis across the spectrum, from the destitute homeless to the working poor to young families with average incomes. This function would provide seed money and leadership by the Cowichan Housing association to attract funding from the 47 billion dollars allocated by senior levels of government to build affordable housing. Without the service, we will be miss out on creating housing so desperately needed and the major social and economic benefits of giving people a home.
- How do you plan to work with other governments within the region, including local First Nations as well as provincial and federal governments?
All levels of government operate on partnerships in today’s world. The efforts I have led to develop strong relationships with First Nations are essential to success when approaching senior levels of government for funding support on issues like affordable housing and mitigation of Climate Change. Cooperation with other local governments happens individually on a day to day basis and collectively at the CVRD Board and that has been my responsibility there as Chair of the Board for the last 4 years.
One Cowichan supporters have expressed concerns about climate change, especially local impacts on our water resources. What local climate change mitigation and/or adaptation strategies would you support if elected?
We need to continue the efforts to achieve a greater degree of local Watershed Governance, something that Chief Seymour and I have collaborated on with the support of the Cowichan Watershed Board. We need to establish Watershed management Plans and make sure our Wildfire Planning is up to date. We must continue to create a culture of conservation with our water and support efforts to reduce the causes of climate change.
- How do you propose managing growth sustainably in the Cowichan Region (e.g. transportation, environmental/agricultural protection, land-use, housing, cost of living)?
We need to support and refine the urban containment boundaries so that future development happens largely within those boundaries. That makes Transit, cycling and walking more efficient while preserving farmland and natural lands. We will have to build up, not sprawl out, with energy efficient multi-family buildings to provide housing that people can afford to live in. Sustainability will be determined by our land use decisions.
- What do you consider the three most pressing issues facing local government and the one most important thing local government should do on each one?
The most immediate is affordable housing which can best be solved with a ‘Housing First’ policy. The second is the preservation of water quality and quantity in our watersheds. We need to plan for the future under a ”new normal”. We need to engage our citizens in discussion around the land use issues that will determine our sustainability.
- Our citizen surveys indicate a desire for more consultation and accountability between elected officials and their constituents. If elected, what would your approach be to those issues?
I find Town Hall Meetings to be the most effective forums for engagement with the public. Of course, in these times we will also have to judiciously use social media tools like PlaceSpeak and Facebook, but for me, nothing will supersede the face to face discussions with individuals and groups. Direct phone calls and emails will continue to be a way that I will be able to quickly and effectively respond.